‘Het werkelijk reële en lichamelijke lijden’ - Michel de Montaigne en de betekenis van pijn in de vroegmoderne cultuur | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 124, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163


Recent medical and cultural-historical research suggests that the experience of physical pain, far from being an purely bodily sensation, is powerfully mediated by personal factors and wider cultural beliefs. This article explores the meanings attached to pain during the early modern period. The first part examines three important early modern pain discourses: medical, neo-Stoical, and religious. The second part analyses the role of pain in the Essais of Michel de Montaigne. The Essais show a sustained preoccupation with the question of pain, while also drawing in highly creative and often subversive ways on early modern medical, philosophical, and religious discourses. Montaigne’s approach illustrates early modern understandings of pain in an idiosyncratic and innovative manner. His Essais also shed light on important changes in early modern conceptions of pain, while his interest in the ways in which pain acquires meaning bears a surprising resemblance to modern medical thinking.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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